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SO MANY CORRUPTION SCANDALS THIS WEEK, we cannot even keep up. Is it Infrastructure Week again already?

Remember how before Michael Flynn was unceremoniously removed from his position as national security advisor after approximately one and one half Scaramuccis, he was working the strangest grift to give nuclear energy secrets to Saudi Arabia -- which is a known gateway drug to a nation getting nuclear weapons -- in exchange for letting the US build nuclear reactors all over the country for fun and profit (for Flynn and friends)? Would it blow you away to know that Flynn's grift, or a version of it, pushed by Trump billionaire pal Tom Barrack -- who organized Trump's highly questionable and grifty inauguration (which is the subject of FOUR criminal investigations), and who recently shared thoughts on how Saudis murdering Washington Post journalists might not be THAT bad, and then swiftly backtracked -- may be still alive and well RIGHT NOW?

That's the contention of a report Elijah Cummings released Tuesday, based on testimony from National Security Council whistleblowers:

Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued an interim staff report after multiple whistleblowers came forward to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law—efforts that may be ongoing to this day.

Illegal? Check!

A weird payoff to the Saudis, which seems to be becoming totally par for the course in Trump's America? Check!


To be clear, the Atomic Energy Act puts strict regulations on handing American nuclear technology to other nations, because of nonproliferation concerns, and therefore any such transfer of said technology has to go through Congress. But that is NO FAIR, because it is standing in the way of grifters who want to make billions of dollars doing a "Marshall Plan" to "recolonize" the Middle East and make $ off its natural resources. What is a poor Trump-adjacent oligarch to do? Ummmmm ... hopefully make billions of Ameros even if you have to bend the law a WEE TINY, right????

Thing is, according to these whistleblowers in Cummings's report, NSC staffers have told the Trump administration -- repeatedly -- that this Saudi grift is highly against the law, but that doesn't matter, we guess, because reportedly people were in the White House meeting about it last week.

Let's Journey Back A Million Years To The Trump Inaugural Real Quick!

A long time ago in a land far away, Wonkette wrote at you about another letter sent by Cummings when he was the ranking member on the Oversight Committee to then-chair Trey Gowdy, about a whistleblower who came forward blowing all kinds of whistles about disgraced literal actual foreign agent Michael Flynn pushing a deal with a company called ACU Strategic Partners to build "proliferation-proof" (uh huh) nuclear reactors all over the Middle East, with the leftover uraniums going to Russia. (No, really. And this is one of the reasons Flynn was fighting to ... lift sanctions on Russia, FUNNY HOW THAT ALWAYS COMES UP.)

On inauguration day, Flynn was texting his buds saying the plan was "good to go" and the whistleblower knew this because they were standing next to Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, who was reportedly sporting a grifting boner that day that was so big and sharp IT'LL POKE YOUR EYE OUT. How are you, Mr. Copson? Asked the whistleblower. "I couldn't be better. This is the best day of my life." According to Cummings's letter, it was a "joint partnership" between the United States and Russia and OMG Copson had been working on this for years and OMG now that there are literal criminals running the US government and OMG now that the grifter-in-chief is taking the oath of office and OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.

From Cummings's earlier letter:

Neato. Copson even talked about using the US military as a pretext to "defend these installations," which would really help them in their plan to "recolonize the Middle East." Totally normal!

At the time, Wonkette said that this all "sounds like the vague outlines of a plan to get less-than-patriotic greedy grifter types in America [...] together with the Russian government and its oligarchs to rape, pillage, loot and steal the Middle East, and when they're done with that, they'll grab it by the pussy some more." IT STILL KIND OF SOUNDS LIKE THAT.

Anyway, Back To The Future!

Cummings's report notes the utter weirdness surrounding the Trump relationship with the Saudis, from Jared Kushner's bizarre relationship with crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to the Trump administration's abject refusal to even say a mean word to MBS about his murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, much less sanction the country. Then it gets down to business:

“The whistleblowers who came forward have expressed significant concerns about the potential procedural and legal violations connected with rushing through a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. They have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes. They have also warned about a working environment inside the White House marked by chaos, dysfunction, and backbiting. And they have warned about political appointees ignoring directives from top ethics advisors at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts."

The whistleblowers who have come forward to the Oversight Committee all reportedly say they fear doing so may "lead to political reprisal, retribution, or political setbacks." (In other words, they are patriots.) And, surprise, the whistleblowers have RECEIPTS.

They have receipts about IP3 International, a company that apparently was only put together to bring together other companies (like the ACU Strategies we mentioned above) who want to get grifty on this deal. While Michael Flynn was working for the Trump campaign and inaugural he was apparently also an adviser to a subsidiary of IP3 International, because of course he was. Bizarrely, he forgot to mention this work on his disclosure forms, or he outright made up cover stories to hide it, which apparently included staying at imaginary Saudi hotels:

Note to Michael Flynn: Next time you are working an international grift to steal the Middle East's resources and give them to your pals in America and Russia, at least take the time to get on Yelp and find a REAL HOTEL TO PRETEND YOU STAYED AT. Fucking amateur.

The report also has the receipts on Tom Barrack, Trump's aforementioned billionaire inauguration-organizer pal, a Lebanese-American Christian who has been doing big business in the Middle East for AGES. As the report notes, Barrack was the guy who brought obvious Russian agent Paul Manafort to the Trump campaign, and served as a go-between for Trump people and the Saudis and Emiratis. It also notes that a METRIC SHIT-TON of the investments that have come into Barrack's company have been from the Saudis and the Emiratis. And according to a memo written by Rick Gates (yes him) for Barrack's company (it's called Colony NorthStar, because of course it is), Barrack had PLANS for how he was going to use the Trump administration to grift and get rich(er).

And so the timeline begins, tracing from the inauguration forward. (It is an EXTENSIVE timeline of the early days of the Trump administration, with documents and emails and ERRTHANG.) The report says starting at the inauguration, the nuclear plan was treated as something that was Already Decided, Flynn or no Flynn, Legal or No Legal, even though everybody with a brain in the White House (career staffers) kept saying "THIS IS NOT HOW IT FUCKING WORKS! ALSO IT IS AGAINST THE LAW!" And Tom Barrack was going to be the "special representative" in charge of making sure it happened!

After Flynn was fired, it sounds like he was still very much in the loop -- "I speak with Michael Flynn every night," said one of these idiots, guy by the name of Derek Harvey who used to work at the NSC, weeks after Flynn was fired purportedly for lying to the Vice President about his conversations with the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions. And also Flynn's deputy K.T. McFarland was in on it and Rick Gates was in on it and Jared Kushner was in on it and even when National Security Adviser 2.0 H.R. McMaster told them all to cut that shit out in 2017, they apparently just kept going!

Oh, certain things changed, it seems. For instance, the report states that it appears these efforts moved out of the White House and into Energy Secretary Rick Perry's office. (You know, we had been wondering when his corruption scandal might happen.) And some of the companies involved are the same, but there are some new ones in the mix, like Westinghouse Electric. But it also says "the White House -- and Mr. Kushner -- allegedly remain directly involved." And shockingly, Saudi Arabia doesn't really seem to be down with complying with any sorts of regulations that say "don't enrich uranium" or "don't make a bunch of nuclear bombs." They are so difficult!

We don't know all the details -- that's why Elijah Cummings is launching an official investigation -- but based on this passage in the report, it sounds like this plan is still FULL SPEED AHEAD, at least in some illegal form or another:

On February 12, 2019, the President met with nuclear power developers at the White House about sharing nuclear technology with countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. In addition, next week Mr. Kushner will be embarking on a tour of Middle Eastern capitals—including Riyadh— to discuss the economic portion of the Administration's Middle East peace plan.

February 12, 2019, was ... OK, that was last Tuesday LOL. See you last Tuesday! Recolonizing the Middle East! GET SOME!

Anyway, so yeah. Jared's going to Saudi Arabia, Trump is still kissing Saudi ass on the Khashoggi murder, and all these fuckers are just seeing DOLLA DOLLA BILLS, and that is your United States government civics lesson for today.

Or, you know, the opposite of that.

[Cummings press release / Cummings report]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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